Theme of the Week: Transforming Prayer
Bible Verse: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3-23
Asking is a vital component of our relationship with God. This is true because He has commanded us to seek Him as our ultimate source for all things. He has ordained prayer as the means by which we depend on and trust in Him. He answers our prayers to give us what He knows we need to bring Him glory.
Yet in today’s western culture, permanently infected with materialism and a consumer mindset, it is sometimes difficult for Christians to ask for things from God without a fundamentally selfish aspiration and a chronic aversion to suffering in any form. We often pray to escape our difficulties rather than embrace discipleship.
Like anyone, I love it when God answers my prayers in ways that make my life more pleasant or pain-free. Yet I am learning that my deepest needs are met when my heart is most closely aligned with the Word of God, the Son of God, the Spirit of God and the purposes of God. I feel God calling me, and many others I know, beyond superficial solutions as the focus of our prayers. Asking is the doorway, not just to getting our next lunch ticket or luxury item but to discovering the profound joy of a transformed life.
In considering these truths we must search our souls about the things that trigger our prayers. What values shape our requests? Are our motives honoring to Christ? Amid all our worries about our health, finances, family, job, education, and ministry concerns, are we seeking first His kingdom and not our own?
Two vital concerns emerge here. First is the need to allow the good gift of the Spirit to lead us in the freedom to pray His heart, not our predetermined ideas. The second issue is the need to align our attitude and approach with the patterns of the Scriptures when we are praying about issues and needs. God continues to teach me so many amazing lessons about the need for spiritual spontaneity over routine rehearsals of prayer lists. He keeps calling me to align my prayers more completely with the precepts, priorities, and patterns of Scripture.
We know we are to bring our requests to God. Yet one of the most important questions we need to ask is how the content of our prayers differ from the biblical patterns and teaching about the things we should be praying about. I would suggest that the prayer requests we find in the Bible are shorter, deeper, and fundamentally different in nature than the lists that can tend to dominate the prayer approach of modern Christians.
Perhaps the fundamental difference between our prayer lists and the prayer concerns we find in the Bible is that we pray about personal problems, while most of the biblical prayers focus on Christ’s purposes. Worship-based prayers set the foundations for something other than “me” prayers, because they start with a “Thee” focus. This changes the nature of how we pray.
Taken from Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face by Daniel Henderson. ©2011 by Daniel Henderson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.
Copyright © 2022 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.